Skylar Schneider (L39ION of Los Angeles) won stage 1’s Arkansas Tourism Devil’s Den Road Race and earned the first pink leader’s jersey for pro women at the Walmart Joe Martin Stage Race on Thursday.
The sunny and warm conditions continued after the pro men’s road race as 115 pro women began the 109.2km (67.8 mile) stage 1, the first of four days of the UCI Americas Tour event, but it was a crash marred final 3km before the sprint to the line.
“I didn’t know there was a crash, so I hope everyone’s okay. It’s a really dicey final. I think notoriously this finish usually has something bad happen, so we stayed in the front to try and stay safe,” said Schneider after claiming the victory. “It’s probably one of the fastest sprints we do the whole year because of the downhill run-in, but for me it was just staying calm and giving it my best shot.”
Her best shot took her over the line ahead of Sarah Van Dam (DNA Pro Cycling) and Marlies Mejias (UCI Virginia’s Blue Ridge TWENTY24) and she had also collected bonuses on the way to the finish line.
The route provided the first Queen of the Mountain points of the race in the first half, with 67.8 miles (109.2km) to go, a 3-mile switchback climb with average gradient of 8%.
Schneider took full points over the top of the ascent ahead of Cynisca Cycling teammates Emilie Fortin and Alia Shafi.
The field was back together as the race headed toward the one intermediate sprint with 23.6 miles (38km) to go. The sprint offered three bonus seconds for the first rider. Bonus seconds were also on offer at the finish line.
Schneider also won the intermediate sprint ahead of Lauren Stephens (EF Education-TIBCO-SVB) and Galen Bolard (3T).
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